The pastel effect (soft color with a pastel tone) can be used on any type of photos, but this particular effect tends to works well on outdoor or portraits photos. If we define it as a soft shade of color (desaturated primary colors) we see that pastels aren’t elaborate, they simply provides a clean and subtle look to your photo.
Today you will learn how to make a Pastel Effect in Lightroom easily and in just a few steps. If you want to follow this tutorial exactly as described, please download the following image from Pixabay: Download. If you want to use your own photo to follow this tutorial, please consider that you may need to change a bit the values given in this tutorial according to the image you are working on.
Open the image in Lightroom and go to the Develop tab.
In the ‘Basic’ tab, set the Temp value to +2.
Under ‘Tone’, set the Exposure to +0,35 and the Contrast to +10.
Set the Highlights to +5, the Shadows to +25 and the Blacks to +15.
Under the Presence options of the Basic tab, set the Vibrance to -10 and decrease the Saturation a bit to -15.
In the ‘Tone Curve’ tab click and drag the bottom anchor point up, until you get a value of 0/9%.
Now, drag the top anchor point down until you reach the 100/98% values. Tip: to better control the anchor point, hold the Alt key on your keyboard while you drag the point.
Go to the ‘Split Toning’ tab and set the Highlights values to: Hue 35 / Saturation 35.
Under the Shadows values of the Split Toning tab, set the Hue to 210 and the Saturation to 65.
Finally, if you want to recover a bit of the Reds, simply go to the ‘Camera Calibration’ tab and under the Red Primary values, set the Saturation to +25.
If you plan to use this effect on various photos, a good idea is to save these settings as a Preset so the next time you want to edit a photo you already have all the basic settings already made and all you have to do is some minor adjustments according to your photo (if needed). Here are 2 examples of the Pastel Effect using the exact same settings we used on this tutorial applied to different images.